9 Cellar Door Stays Worth Cheersing To
Posted by Stephanie Mikkelsen on Thursday, July 20, 2017
Chardonnay, shiraz, merlot, sparkling: whichever style of wine pleases your palate, a visit to a cellar door is almost always a good idea.
It’s the perfect opportunity to sample an upcoming vintage, stock up your cellar and even have a bite to eat while you’re there. Even if you aren’t a devoted wine lover, you can still enjoy a trip to a cellar door – especially if it involves a night or two in some swanky digs. So taking a cue from some of Australia’s most renowned wine-producing regions, we’ve found just the place where you can rest your head after a jam-packed day of sipping, swilling and slurping. Cheers!
Hunter Valley, New South Wales
The Hunter Valley is home to some of the biggest names in the Australian wine industry – think Brokenwood, Tyrrell's Vineyard, Mount Pleasant Wines and Tulloch Wines. The region’s semillon put the Hunter on the map, but that’s not the only varietal you’ll find here. Other styles include shiraz, chardonnay and verdelho. The countryside is dotted with cellar doors of all sizes, brilliant restaurants and artisan producers selling one-of-a-kind goods. To see all the Hunter Valley has to offer would take serious graft, but jumping on an organised tour is a great start.
Where to stay: Hunter Valley Cooperage Bed and Breakfast, Pokolbin
Sitting pretty between Polkobin and Cessnock is Hunter Valley Cooperage Bed and Breakfast. This five-star abode is located on a beautifully manicured vineyard and winery, and offers its guests a getaway that comes complete with spectacular gourmet breakfasts, complimentary chocolates and a movie theatre plush enough to rival Gold Class. The B&B is home to three accommodation options: view-blessed Vineyard Rooms; the modern Champagne Suite; the studio-style Retreat situated behind the main build. When it comes time to plan the ultimate Hunter Valley cellar door itinerary, your hosts are happy to share their local intel.
Yarra Valley, Victoria
The Yarra Valley is only a stone’s throw from Melbourne (a 40-minute drive, to be exact) but almost feels like another world. A cellar door tour is perennially popular, with heavyweights like Oakridge Wines, DeBortoli, Domaine Chandon and Coldstream Hills. Many wineries have award-winning restaurants on-site too, so long lazy lunches are a lovely way to while away a weekend. Smaller boutique wineries can be found too.
Where to stay: Furmston House, Healesville
Healesville is at the heart of the Yarra Valley, and Furmston House is a gorgeous retreat that puts you within easy reach of acclaimed cellar doors, craft brewers and sensational eateries. Thanks to its hilltop perch, the house is afforded sweeping views of the beautiful landscape. The cook's kitchen is equipped with kit befitting the home's gourmet surroundings: cast-iron cookware, chef's knives and Riedel wine glasses. Three bedrooms can accommodate up to six guests, or the Furmston Studio - a separate dwelling at the back of the main house - is a sweet stay for a duo looking to pair their couples' weekend with a day or two of hopping between vineyards.
Margaret River, Western Australia
Margaret River is brimming with award-winning wineries, hatted restaurants and some of the best produce you’ll ever taste. There are great breweries, cafés, pubs and galleries too. The Margaret River region is only a three-hour drive from Perth and covers the area from Busselton down to Augusta and Leeuwin. A self-guided tour is perfect for exploring at your own pace, but if you do want to sample all you can, book a guided tour – both private and group trips are available.
Where to stay: Dolphin House, Gnarabup
This isn’t your stereotypical beach house. It’s not built from weatherboard and it definitely isn’t a shack. Rather, it’s a palatial home that’s modern, sophisticated and totally luxurious. Dolphin House has four bedrooms and two spacious living areas, plus an exceptional wrap-around deck dotted with outdoor furniture. A cluster of cellar doors are less than 30 minutes' drive away, and if you feel the need to counteract any over-indulgence Margaret River's surfing breaks are on par with the region's wineries. Of course, the thought of sleeping off those extra sips and slurps might prove too tempting, and for that you can't go past a quick catnap in Dolphin House's gum nut-shaped daybed.
Barossa Valley, South Australia
Even if you’ve never visited before, chances are you already know the name Barossa Valley. It’s one of the biggest and most iconic wine-producing regions in Australia, with an internationally acclaimed reputation. A stay in the Barossa is almost a rite of passage for any wine devotee. Heck, you probably even have a few bottles of a Barossa vintage in your cellar. Penfolds is here, so too are Château Tanunda, Turkey Flat Vineyards and Hentley Farm Wines. Those seeking to fill the car boot with gourmet goodies should also pay a visit to the great Barossa Farmers' Market.
Where to stay: Stonewell Cottages and Vineyards, Tanunda
Stonewell Cottages and Vineyards is home to four romantic stays: two retreats and two cottages. Both the Haven retreats have a cosy living space, as well as an oval spa bath. Hideaway is a two-bedroom stone cottage perched right on the edge of the property’s lake that's great for two couples to share. Cupid has a sunken spa and a wide verandah that has steps to the water. Whichever accommodation takes your fancy, you’ll be treated to contemporary lounges, new kitchens and wood fires. And let’s not forget the property’s rowboat, available for you to take to the water for a romantic sunset paddle.
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
The Mornington Peninsula isn't short of a cellar door. In fact, there a more than 50 on this picturesque piece of Victoria. The offerings are scattered all over the Peninsula, so if you're keen to explore them it's a good idea to base yourself somewhere central, like Red Hill, Arthurs Seat or Main Ridge. To guarantee your stomach is well-lined, hop on the Mornington Farm Gate Trail, which winds through provedores, gourmet producers and excellent wineries. If you want to swap from grapes to apples or pears, there are a handful of great breweries here too, such as Red Hill Brewery or Mornington Peninsula Brewery.
Where to stay: Polperro Winery Villas, Red Hill
Imagine having spent a day hopping between vineyards and then returning to a luxe villa. You might collapse straight on the king bed, swathed with buttery soft linens, or you might sink into spa bath. Pouring yourself a glass from one of those wines you picked up to enjoy on the deck might also take your fancy. Luckily for you, all three options are a possibility at Polperro Winery Villas. Make sure to visit the Polperro's own cellar door, or snag a table at the neighbouring bistro for a farm-to-table lunch.
Mudgee, New South Wales
The upcoming younger sibling of Hunter Valley, Mudgee shouldn’t be overlooked as a wine destination. In fact, it's the third largest grape-producing region in New South Wales. There are more than 35 cellar doors in the region, including names such as Robert Oatley Vineyards, diLusso Estate and Lowe Wines. Mudgee is known for its excellent chardonnay, as well as its cabernet sauvignon and shiraz.
Where to stay: Primo Cottages, Mudgee
When you're keen to explore the Mudgee wine region with friends, family or your partner, Primo Cottages is the perfect launchpad for your discovery of the area. Take your pick between these two classic cottages: Primo and Bliss. The former has a trio of comfortable bedrooms plus a front verandah ideal for sipping the fruits of your cellar door hopping. Bliss also has three bedrooms but is adults-only. Gather your favourite group of grown-ups and head to this renovated pad, making use of the inviting kitchen-dining area to whip up gourmet plates and indulgent feasts.
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
The Canberra District might be small when compared to other wine-producing regions, but its wine definitely is not. The district is made up of three distinct sub-regions: ACT and Hall, Murrambatean and Yass, and Bungendore, Wamboin and Lake George. Most of the wineries in these areas are less than an hour’s drive from Canberra city and some are within easy reach of Sydney too.
Where to stay: Abode Apartment Hotels Woden, Canberra
Worried about how all that sipping and indulging will affect your waistline? Never fret, just book one of the Fitness Rooms at Abode Apartment Hotels Woden. These pads come with an exercise bike allowing pedal power-inclined guests to have their own private in-room spin class. Not all digs at the hotel are fitness-focussed though; there are five other accommodation types, ranging from entry-level Studios to Family rooms. All options have king beds, free movies, Foxtel and espresso machines.
Tamar Valley, Tasmania
Northern Tasmania is a treasure trove of exceptional cool-climate wines, and in the Tamar Valley you can expect excellent varietals like sparkling wine, chardonnay, riesling, cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir. The valley has 32 vineyards spread over 170 kilometres. The region’s cellar doors are just as varied as the wines produced, so there’s no chance of a same-same experience. Those who are Tamar Valley first-timers should consider following the region’s wine route to experience the best of what’s on offer.
Where to stay: Tamar River Apartments, Rosevears
Only a 20-minute drive from Launceston is Tamar River Apartments. Home to two accommodation styles, the Treetops or Vines apartments, a getaway here means having a cluster of award-winning wineries, fantastic restaurants and other eateries at your fingertips. The elevated apartments come in one-or two-bedroom sorts, and the tall trees surrounding every dwelling create the feeling of being tucked away. Both apartment options have queen beds, sparkling ensuites, private terraces and view-blessed outdoor settings.
Granite Belt, Queensland
Think of Queensland and tropical fruits and seafood may spring to mind before boutique vineyards and award-winning wines, but the sunshine state’s wine credentials are on the up. Granite Belt wineries are winning gold at shows across Australia, and in recent years, a handful of the region’s producers have been listed as one of James Halliday’s Top 10 Dark Horse wineries. In the 2015 Wine Companion, some of the wineries that received the prestigious five black stars included Ballandean Estate, Golden Grove Estate, Jester Hill Wines and Symphony Hill Wines.
Where to stay: Fergies Hill Cottage at Granite Ridge Wines, Ballandean
You’re only a hop, skip and jump away from the vines and winery of Granite Ridge Wines at this cottage. Your stay at Fergies Hill Cottage will be cosy and comfortable, and you might even walk away knowing a thing or two more about the wine-making process – your knowledgable hosts and vintners are eager to share. The cottage has two bedrooms, a kitchen and a quaint lounge area complete with wood-burning fire to make your nights extra cosy. Outside there is a broad verandah to pull up a seat – glass of wine in hand, naturally – to take in the vineyard and valley views.
If you want more gourmet guidance, check out our article on Australia's best food and wine regions - sure to make you hungry for a getaway!